Muhammad Ali in Africana Cultural Memory

Muhammad Ali in Africana Cultural Memory

Edited by James L. Conyers
Jr. & Christel N. Temple

Anthem Africology Series

Muhammad Ali in Africana Cultural Memory is a comprehensive study of Ali’s identity and superlative impact framed in terms of the discipline’s subfield of Africana cultural memory studies. This critical approach challenges us to itemize Ali’s influential legacy with precise conceptual value wherein his mythological structure is illuminated as an inheritance. 

Hardback, 268 Pages


January 2022

£80.00, $125.00

  • About This Book
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About This Book

Muhammad Ali in Africana Cultural Memory is a contemporary evaluation primarily of Ali in African-American and African diasporic memory, based on the field of Africana studies’ updated critical tools for considering inheritance, mythological structure, memorialization, epic intuitive conduct, hero dynamics, immortalization philosophy, and resistance-based cognitive survival. In terms of how Muhammad Ali, as an historical actor, has left an heroic legacy that bequeaths to us a sort of inheritance, the critical task at hand is to systematically explore this historical actor’s life, feats, philosophy, grit, worldview, and even his folkloric antiheroic, to decipher his Africana cultural memory value. At the core of this edited collection is a commitment to enhance the cultural storytelling about Muhammad Ali and to critically itemize the lessons we garner from his life as allegory. The ancestral life is one that is remembered and recalled. The contributors’ research uncovers Ali’s local, national, and global encounters that are legacy worldviews. These perspectives give us direction for mining the critical depth of Ali’s encounters which map his memory in terms of culturally sustaining confidence, self-esteem, reinvention, immortalization, and empathy. These are the fertile seeds of Africana cultural memory which bloom into powerful markers and monuments of an epic life of hyperheroic activity relevant to cultural memory, sports, history, politics, health, and aesthetics.


“An anthology exploring the life, significance, and influence of Muhammad Ali is exciting. Ali has largely been framed as the greatest fighter ever to grace the ring and undeniably a cultural icon. However, such a simplistic narrative undermines Ali as the greatest athlete social activist in history rooted in the best of Africana cultural and political traditions. This anthology seeks to frame Ali as a complex and multi-faceted personality who has had one of the most profound impacts on social justice movements in the United States.” —Dr. Adisa Alkebulan, San Diego State University, US

“Muhammad Ali in Africana Cultural Memory succinctly describes how Ali challenged white hegemony in the sporting community and in the broader national and international arena. It explains how Ali defined social norms and fought for boxing championships as well as the right for self-actualization by crafting a highly intelligent theatrical presentation of self in and out of the ring. The book reminds us of Black Hope, cultural pride and the courage to help navigate the challenges that the intersection of life with race presents. That like Ali we can defend our rights to breathe and ‘float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.’”— Theresa Rajack Talley, Dalhousie University, Canada

Author Information

James L. Conyers, Jr., is Director of the African American Studies Program, Director of the Center for African American Culture, and University Professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston.

Christel N. Temple is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She specializes in cultural memory and Pan-Africanism and has authored Black Cultural Mythology, Transcendence and the Africana Literary Enterprise, and Literary Pan-Africanism: History, Contexts, and Criticism.


Anthem Africology Series

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Foreword; Preface; Acknowledgments; Chapter One “Something Greater than Pride”: Muhammad Ali and Black Cultural Mythology, Christel N. Temple; Chapter Two Muhammad Ali, the Nation of Islam, and Sport: The Grind of Spirituality, James L. Conyers Jr.; Chapter Three Muhammad Ali and the European Fabric of Domination, Molefi Kete Asante; Chapter Four Muhammad Ali as Skh, Wade W. Nobles; Chapter Five Let Us Make a Man: Muhammad Ali’s Reeducation through Critical Black Pedagogy, Abul A. Pitre, Ruby Holden-Pitre, and Natalie Williamson; Chapter Six The Challenge of Race and Religion in the United States: From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali; Bayyinah S. Jeffries; Chapter Seven Global Influence of Muhammad Ali’s Pan-Ethnic Vision and Conviction: Africa and Asia in the 1970s, Suzuko Morikawa; Chapter Eight Muhammad Ali’s Cuba Connections, Anju Reejhsinghani; Chapter Nine Muhammad Ali: The Greatest Advocate for Peace and Humanity, Rebecca Hankins; Chapter Ten Muhammad Ali, aka “The Greatest”: Demonstration of Ubuntu, Derek Wilson; Chapter Eleven Still the People’s Champ and Relevant in the Fight for Social Justice: Muhammad Ali’s Conversion of Athletic Capital into Sociopolitical Capital, Billy Hawkins; Chapter Twelve Influencing at the Intersections: Black Sportswomen’s Activism in the Era of Muhammad Ali, Akilah R. Carter-Francique; Chapter Thirteen Caring for the Minds of Our Heroes: A Brief Overview of Common Mental Health Impairments, Treatment Modalities, and Veteran Administration Resources, Karen E. Alexander, Ryan Moore, Jeanette Anderson, William Kouba, and Waveney LaGrone; Chapter Fourteen The Complementary Duo of Sports and Activism: Critical Reflections on Muhammad Ali as a Formidable Athlete and Activist, Howard Bartee Jr.; Chapter Fifteen Nostra Aetate, Inshallah: Muhammad Ali in Community Dialogue with Catholic Communicators, Autumn Raynor; Chapter Sixteen Ali: Standing for Something, Brandon Allen; Chapter Seventeen Muhammad Ali and Health and Wellness, Angela Branch-Vital, Andrea McDonald, Park Esewiata Atatah, Catherine Kisavi-Atatah, and James L. Conyers Jr.; Conclusion; List of Contributors; Index.


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